Tuesday, July 28, 2015


At the Conclusion of the Pan American Games-2015



As an avid fan of international sports contests and games, I was intrigued when an announcer mentioned that there were tickets remaining for the Closing Ceremonies of the Pan American Games in Toronto. I had not seen any of the events, but caught some of the action on TV. I watched the conclusion of the basketball final between Canada and Brazil. Canada trailed by 25 points at the half, narrowed the gap to six points in the second half, then ran out of steam. Their silver medal was the first for this country, ever, in basketball. It is indicative of the growth of the sport in the past twenty years.



I was intrigued enough to go on line to see what tickets might be available. In short order, I bought a pair, at $ 95 each, to attend the closing ceremonies. I heard that a special commemorative program was going to the first 10 000 to enter the gates, so I planned to get there early. As we often do, we drove to Oshawa, and took the GO train from that station. The bonus at that point was that the train was free, with the purchase of the ticket for the Closing Ceremony. We arrived about three minutes before the train left the station, another positive.



Once we had arrived at Union Station, we walked along Front Street to the Rogers Centre. They have completed all of the repairs on the street, for your information. It seemed that they were repairing that area in front of the Royal York Hotel forever. It certainly was a vibrant walk. People of all nationalities had taken to the streets on that fine day. No jacket required.



Our seats were in the upper area of the Rogers Centre, the “500” level. We were not alone, as the entire section was full. There were very few vacant seats in the Dome. Those that promote had done a good job. They had hired Kanye West and “Pitbull” to head the list of entertainers at the event. A token Canadian, Serena Ryder, was also thrown into the mix, to provide the 33% Canadian Content.



There has been much controversy concerning the selection of the entertainers at the event. That discussion continued after the show. I was amazed at the acoustics, and the brilliant use of technology to get all of the acts co-ordinated for the show. And then, somehow, there was a failure. Near the conclusion of Kanye’s presentation, the music stopped in the middle of a song, and his microphone did not function. He tried to continue, but without success. He tossed the microphone in the air, and departed.



Well! That has really upset the group that did not want him to perform in the first place. Personally, I am not terribly fond of his musical interpretations. But he has garnered 57 Grammy nominations, and has won 21 Grammys. Obviously, he is doing something right. His fans stood throughout his presentation, and mouthed the words of every song.



Armando Christian Perez is presented in the program as: musician, performer, business entrepreneur, fashion icon, and actor. As indicated, we know him as “Pitbull”. He certainly put on a better show than Kanye, and had the audience in the palm of his hand. All of the athletes who had paraded into the stadium got the groove much easier with his presentation.



Alas, all of this kerfuffle has little to do with sport. There were flags lowered, and others raised. The next Pan American Games will take place in Lima, Peru. We were entertained by Peruvians, with bits of Peruvian culture woven into the performance. All in all, a fine evening.



James Hurst

July 28, 2015. 

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